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The Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre.
Warumuk - in the Dark Night. Photography Jeff Busby

"a diverse triple bill showing a depth of talent."

"The collaboration of these three great choreographers (Murphy, Obarzanek and Page) is a fitting celebration of The Australian Ballet's birthday and a milestone in dancing history."

On The Narrative of Nothing:
"Designer Damien Cooper's barren stage, lit by banks of harsh lights from the side and above is the perfect set for this bleak futuristic work."
"brilliant dancers"
"The strength of this new work lies in the creation of atmosphere through the subtle interplay of music and choreography."

On There's Definitely a Prince Involved:
"this is a light-hearted Gen Y take on tutus and entrechats, one that has the audience laughing out loud in recognition."
"Refreshingly democratic in sentiment, the work gives the swan-ballerinas a voice – literally, when they are handed a hand-held mike – and the story of Swan Lake is deconstructed, with the misgivings people have about ballet played out onstage. It is a daring move, introducing dialogue into ballet, but the audience found it a huge relief. In spite of the satirical slant and general silliness, there are moments of grace and beauty."

On Warumuk – in the dark night:
"There are seven interconnected stories in Warumuk, which as a whole translate a powerful indigenous creation myth into the language of dance. "It is the spiritual connectedness of these bare-foot dancers that creates a rhythm and harmony that delights and astounds."
"This is one of several collaborations between the two companies, but never before has the dancing reached this standard. The precision and athleticism of the Australian Ballet troupe has added a sense of flight into the earthiness of Bangarra. And the fluidity and sensuality of the Aboriginal dancers seems to have rubbed off on the ballet dancers. This cross-fertilisation of styles is shaping the identity of Australian dance and maybe influencing its evolution further afield."

Australian Stage Online, 26 February 2012

**** (4 stars)
"It was a calculated risk for The Australian Ballet to open their 50th anniversary year with three new works, but the gamble has paid off.
"a diverse triple bill showing a depth of talent."
"The company's versatility is remarkable: from abstract neoclassical moves to indigenous storytelling, to a breakdown of ballet's most well-known production, the dancers relish each challenge."
"The entire evening is impressive and innovative."

On The Narrative of Nothing:
"a demanding abstract work alternating moments of beauty with complex action"
"It is filled with drama, from the interplay of bodies, Damien Cooper's spectacular lighting and the specially commissioned orchestral sound of Brett Dean's Fire Music."
"Jessica Fyfe and Jarryd Madden are stunning in a duet of original lifts, while senior artists anchor the piece with powerful solos."

On There's Definitely A Prince Involved:
"elicits plenty of laughs with incisive verbatim text spoken by the dancers, which hilariously exposes weaknesses in the ballet's plot (Swan Lake), yet highlights the ideals that ensure its continued popularity."
"a refreshingly honest look at this bastion of ballet."
"Incredibly boneless moves by guest artists James O'Hara and Sara Black complement snippets of the traditional choreography, including a brilliant remix of the cygnets sequence."
"Benjamin Stuart-Carberry and Madeleine Eastoe show off their contemporary chops, while guest Harriet Ritchie is outstanding as narrator and performer."

On Warumuk - in the Dark Night:
"Seamlessly integrating dancers from Bangarra Dance Theatre [and The Australian Ballet].
"With [Jennifer] Irwin's attractive costumes and David Page's electronic music transposed for orchestra, plus Jacob Nash's evocatively simple set design, Page enjoys great support from his collaborators, including the ballet dancers, who admirably adapt to his grounded style."
"Vivienne Wong is alluring as the Evening Star, almost as stellar as leading Bangarra dancer Deborah Brown, as the Morning Star."
"The Seven Sisters section is lyrical and lovely, as is the yearning Eclipse duet for Jake Mangakahia and Bangarra's Ella Havelka."

The Age, 27 February 2012

On There's Definitely a Prince Involved:
"the apex of the evening."
"The sight of dancers holding microphones can make even the most sympathetic audience quiver in dread, but here the text works well to question both the romantic themes and narrative intentions of classical ballet."
"This piece has excellent performances from James O'Hara, Robbie Curtis and Madeleine Eastoe."

On Warumuk In the Dark Night:
"flowing, sumptuous movement infused with a strong ensemble sensibility."
"exquisite design by Jacob Nash and Padraig O'Suilleabhain and the orchestration of David Page's music build an engrossing piece."

Herald Sun, 27 February 2012

"Infinite reasons to celebrate"

On The Narrative of Nothing:
"this is classic Murphy: sinuous upper-body downward sweeps, muscular torsos and pairings in which torque and flex fluently dissolve into supple sensuality."

On Warumuk In The Dark Night:
"there are moments of captivating beauty, not least the opening sequence in which Vivienne Wong, representing the Evening Star, serenely floats above an energised, amorphous mass of male dancers."
"The dance vocabulary is Page's familiar blend of indigenous and classical traditions, the intermingled Australian Ballet and Bangarra dancers superbly cohesive in style and execution."

The Australian, 27 February 2012

“in its 50th year the Australian Ballet is taking a brave and forward-looking approach”

On Warumuk - in the dark night:
“Page’s ballet was immediately captivating”

ArtsHub, 27 February 2012

“Extreme triple bill a challenging delight”
“It is thrilling to see the Australian Ballet putting itself out on a limb with three new works from three Australian choreographers”

On The Narrative of Nothing:
“There were powerful performances from Canberra's own Lana Jones and her partner Adam Bull, and the supporting dancers deserve praise for their technical strength as they attacked the demanding choreography.”
“Murphy has moved a step beyond his usual (always interesting) vocabulary and made a work that, in somewhat of a contradiction, asks the dancers to move with a kind of aggressive lyricism.
“With an uncompromising lighting design from Damien Cooper and a minimalist black space as a setting, The Narrative of Nothing was an example of the best of contemporary collaborative enterprises.”

On There’s Definitely a Prince Involved:
“Australian Ballet principal Madeleine Eastoe showed her versatility as a performer and slotted beautifully into the varying demands associated with the role of a deconstructed Odette”

On Warumuk – in the dark night:
“Vivienne Wong, stunningly dressed in black by Jennifer Irwin, stood out as the Evening Star”

The Canberra Times, 17 March 2012

“Memories, tradition and collaboration in bold triple bill”
“The Australian Ballet has launched its 50th year in bold style by commissioning and presenting a program of three works by leading Australian choreographers.”

On The Narrative of Nothing:
“a joyful exploration of movement to the invigorating sounds of Brett Dean's Fire Music
“leading dancers and a few lesser known performers make much of the sinuous, subtle and imaginative choreography”

On There’s Definitely a Prince Involved:
“There is a melding of new and old in one of Obarzanek's characteristically intelligent and witty riffs on dance, with genuine references to the company's anniversary. The audience laughed mightily.”

On Warumuk – in the dark night:

The Sydney Morning Herald 9 April 2012

“A bold ruffling of classical feathers”
“On the cusp of its 50th anniversary, the Australian Ballet soars into the future with a specially commissioned triple bill that affirms its commitment to broadening the boundaries of classical dance.”
"Infinity is neither traditional nor romantic; rather, it's powerful in a provocative way"

On The Narrative of Nothing:
"Fans of Murphy's purist work will be well satiated"

On There's Definitely a Prince Involved:
"there's no denying Obarzanek knows how to entertain”

Of Warumuk – in the dark night:
“the dancing was flawless”

The Daily Telegraph 9 April 2012 

Infinity, through the individual and collective genius of three of our finest, gifted collaborators and extraordinary dancers, shows just how much scope ballet can have and how broad its appeal can be. McAllister and the AB have set an interesting new course for the next half-century and I, for one, am very much on-board”

On The Narrative of Nothing:
“Graeme Murphy has taken aspects of both classical and contemporary dance vocabulary, built upon and subverted it, until it’s teased into something entirely fresh”
“Even by Murphy’s surpassing, benchmark-setting standards, it’s a tight, triumphant, yet unpretentious work; even if one that allows the AB’s almost impossibly talented and skilled dancers the glory of some spectacular new moves that will, almost literally, steal your breath away”

On Warumuk – in the dark night:
“The dancers becomes instruments for telling stories about phenomena far bigger than ourselves and this, to my mind, is Page’s overrearching contribution to culture: reminding us of the universal and timeless, in an age where we’re obsessed with the personal”

Crikey Curtain Call 13 April 2012

“Australian dance is incredibly exciting right now and you won't catch a better showcase than this triple bill from The Australian Ballet”
“Infinity deserves to tour worldwide - it is Australian dance at its best”

On The Narrative of Nothing:
“Graeme Murphy's neoclassical ballet is a glistening abstract piece and is his best work for some time: original, demanding and beautiful to look at”

On Warumuk - in the dark night:
“Stephen Page creates a work of immense beauty in Warumuk, a Dreamtime story of the evening star. The dancers from Bangarra Dance Theatre and The Australian Ballet move with delicacy and deep spirit.”

The Sun-Herald 15 April 2012

On The Narrative of Nothing:
"The Narrative of Nothing showed once again that Murphy is prepared to be innovative and creative."

On There's Definitely a Prince Involved:
"There were some beautiful groupings immaculately arranged on stage which showed [Obarzanek's] fine eye for detail and for maximum theatrical and artistic impact. The closing scene, in particular, was a stroke of genius"

On Warumuk - in the dark night:
"At its best, Bangarra opens a window onto another dimension of reality"
"Following on from the success of Rites and Amalgamate, Warumuk was a worthy successor to these previous collaborations between The Australian Ballet and Bangarra, and an Australian triumph - an example of truly Australian dance linked to this land."

Dance Australia April/May 2012

"The Australian Ballet has come up with a winner; or more accurately, three winners"
"The orchestra played superbly throughout under their musical director Nicolette Fraillon."

On The Narrative of Nothing:
"Graeme Murphy's wonderful The Narrative of Nothing is an inventive 30-minute melding of styles, made whole by a master choreographer."

On Warumuk - in the dark night:
"it was Jake Mangakahia's stunning dancing... that stood out among many fine performances."

Limelight June 2012



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